tv [untitled] July 22, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PDT
next speaker. i ask all members of the audience if you could abide by the equal time we provide all speakers. >> good afternoon. i am a retired city employee, 32 years, the department of social services and san francisco general hospital. i have been retired since 1986. quite a long time. during the time worked, i was a single mother most of the time. i had quite a bit of help from my parents because they tick 8% out of my checked every single payday for 32 years. leaf along with social security and health insurance premiums and disability as i recall, at the present time, my pension is about $32,000 a year, so it is about the same as the highest salary i made. it sounds shocking when you put
it that way, but i wonder how many of you could live on $32,000 a year. fortunately, i also have social security and some investment income. what i know is not everybody at the present time has 8% deducted from their checks. the charter amendment looks as though it has been amended a few times. i did not come to speak about it. i am not very well informed. if your vote affects the amount of money being deducted for pensions, i hope you do something to ensure other employes have that same deduction. i am happy to have the pension but i read the other day that others get the same health insurance benefits i get. i don't know who is paying big premiums. i hope is being deducted from any and all of you that may
benefit from that. thank you. i also picked up this charter amendment will affect the number of elected officials that are going to make decisions about pensions and i think electing is better than appointing. thank you. [tone] president chiu: thank you. are there any other members of the public who wish to speak at this public hearing? the public hearing is close. supervisor mar: there is always a challenge when there is not enough time for real dialogue. i appreciate the mayors efforts to put a pension reform package before us. i did want to allow someone from department of human resources to respond because i think many of the retirees -- it's great seeing many of the familiar faces from teachers to longtime public employees coming to speak before us with compelling arguments for why the
pullout and this restructuring of the health system board. they make a good argument that it is anti-democratic -- anti- democratic and against the protect our benefits coalition and what they did to create stronger process. they make an argument that it is a power grab that will shift the balance and one that is more dominated by appointees. they also say has no financial impact as well but i just wanted to ask if they could give us a rationale for why this should be part of the broad, comprehensive package. i have many of the same concerns that many of the retirees brought up. supervisor elsbernd: perhaps you will give me a shot to respond to this. it was what i was going to open my comments with with respect to the folks who showed up today.
first and foremost, proposition c was not just changing the composition of the health service board of far more a point to me, and what of a key reason that supported it was that it used to be an entity within the department of human resources. the department of human resources staff did manage it and there was no independent whatsoever to the health service boreholes service system. it ticket out from under dhr and made it into an independent agency. there is nothing in the proposal in front of you that change that. health service system and the health service board will continue to remain an independent department. nothing changes there. in respect to the real composition of the health service board, a couple of things. i had the opportunity to serve on that board for five years. what you are hearing today is very similar to some of the back and forth i heard that that
health service board in my time there. a constant give-and-take, employer-employee-employer- employee and there is an element that is missing. the taxpayer. there was no discussion of the taxpayer. it was employer-employee. but what about the entity that pays for all this? that is the fundamental reason we need this one change to the health service board. what will happen is the comptroller will appoint somebody to be that seventh seat. keep in mind that the controller doesn't appoint that person then that is it. in fact, a majority of the six others need to confirm that person. if the three electives to not like who is appointed, that person does not sit. at least one of the three, if not more, who knows of all the city representatives will agree,
but if the elected members to not like the appointee and stand firm, the appointee does not sit. this will have to be someone who can bridge the divide. i think that is a key fundamental piece in this. we hear that it is a power grab and a takeover. not true. my former colleagues on the health service board, sharon johnson, talked about the need for balance. respectfully, i do not think 4-3 is balance. three-three is balanced with the seventh being someone the remaining six agreed to. those are the fundamental reasons this change was made. it was not the initial proposal. what we were looking for initially was a flip-flop, 4-3. but labour consistently made the point that it was not balanced. i believe we have struck a balance, 3-3, with one being
someone both sides agreed to. i have other comments i want to make, but i want to make sure we fully that this issue because it's the heart of the public comment. >> i do see the director of public resources here. if you could explain why this the to be part of the comprehensive package, that would be helpful to me. >> supervisors, as we began to identify over the last year the significant increases in secos cola you have seen and we have seen it includes both pension -- you have seen and we have seen that it includes a pension costs and also on the hillside. we would be failing in our duty to the public and as we serve if we failed -- if there was a method to address those costs as well.
as was noted, we believe there was a gap in the existing health service in the sense there is not a taxpayer representative to look at the decisions that determine the benefits of the employees receive. we know that in their retirement system, the voters decide what benefits are received and the elected body determines what benefits are received. this is an introduction of the voters' voice to determine what those benefits are. the other elements which we have not heard a lot about what is very significant cut is the -- is significant, the retiree trust fund. unlike pension, we have not contributed except those hired
since 2009 to the retiree health-care trust fund and we do not have money saved up to pay for our obligations which we are obligated to pay. those are some of the thoughts i had. supervisor elsbernd: thank you. let's step back and look at the big picture here. what you have in front of you, as has been discussed in public comment, a fully vetted, fully discussed piece of legislation that is brought to you through a collaborative process. six months of very intense work that at times got a bit heated, but it is something i am proud of and i think every member sponsored it is proud of and our
partners in labor are proud of it. it is comprehensive in scope and is not just focus on the pension issue. it also focuses on the health care issue and it is not a proposal that ignores a thousand + of our employees. it gets savings as a result. it is not a proposal that unintentionally increases the retirement benefit of thousands of employees to happen to take a desman and our retirement. this is a well thought out and well lighted measure. the comptroller's office has finally put together some numbers that demonstrate what this ballot measure saves and what the public defender's ballot measure would save. i want to put those numbers in perspective because i fear in a campaign you're not going to get that opportunity in a five second sound bite and he may not get it in a 10 word mailer.
this is important to consider what this campaign could be all about. over the next 10 years, the city is expected to spend $4.5 billion on retirement. $4.5 billion. the difference between the two measures is less than 5% of that. we will be having a campaign over to under $50 million. what we are talking and scope of $4 billion. what i would say to the public defender who is hopefully watching this is declare victory. you have one. you have pushed the envelope. we are in a great place. let's not have a campaign over 5%. particularly when the numbers that are here from the comptroller are extremely dubious when it comes to the legal footing the public defender has.
the comptroller does not apply double legal merits but we know from the memo we receive from the city attorney that they were pushing the envelope. the public defender is blowing up that envelope. we cannot take that risk. regardless of the amendment we made last week, as both measures were to pass and his measure were to get more votes, we are not risking the delta of that extra 5%. you risk the entire amount. he is going to take a gamble for the entire billion dollars savings over the next 10 years at the mayor's proposal delivers. that is a gamble that is completely irresponsible to take with the taxpayers' money. i want to thank everyone who has worked on this, especially our partners in labor. they have stepped forward with the billion dollars in savings over the next 10 years.
that should absolutely be commended. there's a great deal of gratitude on my part but, over the next few months, we will see the city's part of their efforts for stepping forward and i thank them for that. i thank the mayor for his leadership and it is going to be a difficult campaign, but it's one i am glad to be a part of because i think it is unequivocally the right step forward and will allow us to move forward together and i look forward to your support today. supervisor campos: thank you mr. president and thank you, supervisor, for your comments. i would like to thank everyone who has come out and spoken on this item and i appreciate all the comments and understand the importance of these issues for the folks have come out and testified. i do not take any of the things that were set lightly. we are talking about very
serious issues here. that said, i have always believed that when it comes to something as complicated and important as issues like retirement, pension, health care, you are not going to come up with a solution unilaterally. you are not going to address those issues and truly solve the overarching concerns if you do not bring all of the stakeholders to the table. if you do not thunder's -- if you cannot find a middle ground or a position everyone can live with, i think balance is the word that was used. to me, that is the key word here. how do we strike the right balance so all of the concerns of the different stakeholders are taken into account? striking the right balance often means you have things not everyone is happy with.
striking the right balance is what we need to do with something as important as this. i appreciate the comments of workers, but i can get is quite telling that the leadership of the council and the leadership of our various labor partners are here today to show their support for this measure. it is a testament to their work and a testament to the work of the mayor who has worked vehemently to bring folks together. supervisor elsbernd has been talking about these issues since i got on the board. i agree the public defender should declare victory because all lot of the things that are here today we are about to vote on the and what has been put forward is something that reflects all lot of the points he has made. by ho is that as we move forward to the november ballot, to the
extent possible we have the united front as an elected family. that is something that will be in the best interest of the taxpayers and i look forward to the campaign. but because of the hard work everyone has done, including the work from our labour partners, i will be supporting this today and i want to thank everyone for their good work. president chiu: colleagues, any additional discussion? if we could take a roll-call vote on item number 45. >> [roll-call]
there are 11 ayes. president chiu: this charter amendment is submitted. could you please call items 46 through 48. >> for the city commissioners as a whole allowing amendments to ordeals of ordnances or declarations of policy approved by the voters on or after november 1st, 2011. item 48 is a charter amendment, a third draft, allowing a mammoth two or appeals of an initial -- initiative ordinance or declarations of policy. supervisor wiener: i am going to move to table items 46 and 47 so that we may proceed directly to item number 48. i have been advised by the city attorney that is appropriate. president chiu: it is my understanding if we're not going
to consider item 47 we do not have to have the public hearing for item 46. is there a second to the motion? without objection -- supervisor elsbernd: i know it is a lost cause when the sponsor was to table it, but i speak against the motion to table. if any of you have the opportunity to view the rules committee hearing on thursday, i think you would see it is absolutely imperative if these three measures stay on the ballot, there is going to be significant cleanup legislation needed on all three. we heard over and over again the phrase that the legislation as drafted is not the intent. that is not what we intended. that was not the impact we were intending. it is not what we meant to say. if we are going to have a
question of legislative intent as opposed to what the language it says, we could clarify it if we had the opportunity to amend it. the demolition legislation is my favorite. throughout it, it says 50, sometimes as 20 units. i think this legislation had the opportunity to go through spell check, but did anyone read it before they sign it? did anybody understand that when they signed it it would also completely destroy the home san francisco program? was that the intent of the measure? the author, who at least identified -- at least identified himself, a representative of the community, said the whole attempt was to stop the parkmerced project. but then we have the city attorney come up and say even if it passes it will not stop the parkmerced project. the you truly want to hoist this completely misguided piece of
legislation on the electorate, potentially pass, have all these unintended consequences for an end and that cannot even be achieved? respectfully, i would think before a view that signed the various measures would jump all over this amendment. it is the one saving grace. supervisor weiner is doing you a rope to clean up the mistakes that will otherwise be in the ballot. join me in my opposition to this relationship to table. supervisor weiner: i agree with a lot of what supervisor elsbernd said, but i also tried to be realistic. i am opposed to the three ballot measures. i think you and i need to just make sure we beat all three at the ballot and just move on. president chiu: any further discussion? i was told that if there are members of the public that wish to speak with regards to the motion to table the items,
particularly with regards to the public hearing, and you are welcome to say few words. each member of the public shall have up to two minutes on the motion to table. >> ♪ does anybody really know what time it is? does anybody really care about time? then you got time enough to do anything at all ♪ president chiu: in the other members of the public that wish to speak on the motion to table? if you wish to speak, please step up to the microphone. we cannot hear you. this is not general public comment. this is simply on whether we should table item 46. thank you. any other members of the public wish to speak with regard to the motion to table items 46 and 47? seeing none, can we take this
motion without objection? apologies. roll-call vote on the motion. aye. supervisor chu: no. supervisor cohen: no. supervisor elsbernd: no. supervisor farrell: aye. supervisor kim: aye. supervisor mar: aye. supervisor mirkarimi: aye. supervisor weiner: aye. supervisor avalos: aye. supervisor campos: aye. >> there are eight ayes and three nos. president chiu: motion to table passes. on item 48, supervisor weiner. supervisor weiner: that was interesting. colleagues, our ballot measure system and votes in california and san francisco is broken.
we have too many items on the ballot, too much complicated public policy decided with a yes or no vote, as we have seen with some of the measures passed on the ballot yesterday without an opportunity for the give-and- take of making public policy and public legislation. it is too easy to place things on the ballot whether by the board of supervisors or the mayor. we have too much ballot box budgeting. we have a ballot measure system that is far too easy to manipulate with money. of the various flaws that we need to fix in san francisco and on a bigger skill in california, this charter amendment addresses one of them. that flaw is that once a measure is passed, and we are talking about ordinance's here, policy
statements, they are effectively frozen in time. no matter how much time passes, no matter how small or big a contemplated change, no matter how much consensus there is around a change, the only way we can make the change is to go all the way back to the ballot and put another ballot measure on and write another campaign. we are the only state in the country that does it this way. california is the only state, of states that allow voters to legislate, that does not allow any changes thereafter unless it goes back to the voters. other states either allow changes by the legislature after a certain amount of time or with a super majority vote. some trade voter legislation like any other legislation as it immediately amendable or repeatable. this is a modest first step that takes a middle road to start fixing our ballot measure
system. as i have indicated before, this ballot measure applies only to ordinances and two policy statements. it does not apply to anything the voters put on the ballot by signature. it does not apply to past ballot measures. for the first three years after an ordinance or policy statement placed on the ballot by the board or the mayor is in effect, the board of supervisors cannot touch that measure. for the next four years, the board can amend or repeal the measure with a 2/3 supermajority vote. after seven years, the ordinance or policy statement becomes just like any other ordinance or policy statement, and it is amendable or repeatable -- repealable. this is a modest and common sense first step reform for our ballot system, to start getting it under control. i want to note a few things.
first of all, i want to thank my colleagues and members of the public who have expressed opinions about this and who have made it a better measure. it initially included boater- generated signature drive initiatives. there was a lot of concern that that was the core of the voter's power to take matters into their own hands. i removed that out of respect for the fundamental right of voters to collect signatures and put something on to the ballot. in addition, we made a perspective. a lot of people were mistrustful and thought i had a secret agenda or secret list of things i wanted to go after. that was never the case. i put my money where my mouth was by making this a perspective. i also want to address a couple of criticisms i heard that frankly i do not think are meritorious. one is that we are somehow
disrespecting the will of the voters. this is only going to go into effect if the voters say it goes into effect. this is the ultimate respect to the voters, asking them what they think. if the voters say no, i would respect that, but we should give them the opportunity. the second is that the board is going to start willy-nilly repealing or amending ballot measures. i think anyone who has been around this place knows that members of this board are going to be very ginger and conservative in terms of amending something the voters have passed. i think the power will be used sparingly. it is important that power exist. colleagues, i respectfully request your support. thank you. supervisor kim: thank you. considering supporting this
charter amendment was a difficult decision for me. i know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue. for a long time, i thought it was important that we think about what it means to reform our ballot ordinance process. i do think it is important that when supervisors do put on ordinances that we have an ability to make changes or edit in the future. i appreciate some of the changes. i also think it is important in the past that voters have voted in ordinances' thinking that if changes were made it would have to go back to voters. i appreciate that it only applies to the future. i did not support it affecting ballot measures this november, because there is still uncertainty given that we do not know the outcome of this measure, but from january forward. it is important to know we are
the only state that does not allow the legislature to make changes. i think that in some ways this will be a check on supervisors as we go forward in putting more things on the ballot. i would prefer it if we had a longer, more comprehensive process in terms of reforms which could make in general to the ballot initiative process. i look forward to it potentially doing that. i have heard from many a community advocates about how to put measures onto the ballot. but it is important that voter driven signature drive pellet measures are not included in this. this takes a tremendous amount of work for voters to get on the ballot, where as it is easier for supervisors to get an ordinance on the ballot. this would only allow us to amend our own measures. i want to thank supervisor weiner